BioWare on how your choices determine Mass Effect 3's ending

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Mass Effect 3 Decision Consequences

One of the coolest things about the Mass Effect games is that your decisions in one have consequences in the next. In Mass Effect 2, there were only a few major events that depended on your actions in the first. In Mass Effect 3, though, every major decision will come into play. But does that mean the wrong choices make the game more difficult? Have some of us already screwed ourselves? We didn't know, so we asked BioWare's Casey Hudson.

PC Gamer: With the choices in the series before, there’s often been the pressure of, ‘If I get this wrong, I’m going to make life difficult for myself later on’ – is that actually the case when the consequences kick in in Mass Effect 3?

Casey Hudson: [Deaths in Mass Effect 2] became the grade of scale of your success of the end game, and we have something similar here. You’re basically building towards greater and greater degrees of success, in terms of how you’re able to fight the Reapers. So similarly you’re going to want to do more, and be more successful, and make better choices throughout. And then that, combined with more personal or more moral choices about how to deal with things... those things will ultimately affect part of the end game, which is pretty amazing.

PC Gamer: So it's not like, if I let the Rachni live, now I can't complete the game because they've killed everyone. But maybe I can't get the ultra-nice ending where everything works out perfectly?

Casey Hudson: I think a way to think about it is if you made decisions early on, you’ll see them affecting this. And the decisions you might want to make that go against those prior things are gonna be harder. Killing the Rachni might present opportunities in Mass Effect 3 that you wouldn’t otherwise have, but if you don’t take those opportunities and you try and do something in opposition to that, then it would be harder for you than if you work with it. Similarly with the decisions at the end of Mass Effect 2, for whether you saved the base or destroyed it.

And so all the different things that you do, if you do a little side quest, or you go off and do a major plot, these things contribute to the war effort. If you just rip straight down the critical path and try and finish the game as soon as you can, and do very little optional or side stuff, then you can finish the game. You can have some kind of ending and victory, but it’ll be a lot more brutal and minimal relative to if you do a lot of stuff. If you really build a lot of stuff and bring people to your side and rally the entire galaxy around you, and you come into the end game with that, then you’ll get an amazing, very definitive ending.

Casey also told us how they used Mass Effect 2 DLC to experiment with ideas for the third game, why you shouldn't shoot the hideous sacs on a Reaper Rachni, that Tali will return as a full time squad member, and that there'll be no new love interests in the third game (but then, confusingly, tweeted this. We've asked for a clarification).

We'll have another chunk of Mass Effect 3 details tomorrow. You can subscribe to all our Mass Effect 3 news and previews if you use an RSS reader.